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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing you all a wonderful and safe 4th of July! Hope you can 
read as many books as possible, preferably somewhere warm and sandy.
And drink a glass of sweet tea or wine along with the page-turning. 
Be back in a week with a review of an awesome James McBride book. 
Happy 4th, 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Patty Pick for June 23 is "Where they Found Her" by Kimberly McCreight

Where they found her starts off with a bang! That's usually the way I like my psychological thrillers to go. It's funny that I read this book after "Pretending to Dance" by Diane Chamberlain because both major female characters are named Molly. They both are dealing with the loss of a baby. Strange events to be sure, but that is about the only thing that these two books have in common. 

In "Where They Found Her", Molly Anderson is slowing returning back to her life because she has been struggling with depression after her baby died in utero. Her husband, Justin, and daughter, Ella, are glad to have Molly working and managing to live her life again. She was a practicing lawyer for a non-profit that helped low income pregnant women. She can not face all those pregnant people after losing her baby, so she is trying her hand as a reporter for the small town to which they fled when the city seemed too much for them to handle anymore. Justin, her husband, is a professor at the local private college where he is now teaching. Then the unthinkable happens, Molly, the arts reporter, is thrust into the investigation of a dead infant found in the local river.

This novel jumps right into the investigation and the ever expanding list of suspects. It turns out that small town Ridgedale has quite a few interesting suspects. Molly uses all of her resources and digs deep to uncover the mystery of what happened to the infant found and to some of the other lost souls in town. Told from the perspective of Molly, Barbara - a PTA uber-mom, and Sandy, a teenager with a mom connected to the town, they all keep the action and story moving forward. It turns out that it really is a small world. This book will keep you up turning the pages until the end. Don't plan on putting it down and slowly meandering through this one! Love the twist!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Happy Father's Day! In Memory of Robert Workman

My memories of my Dad always come together with Gorilla Glue and taped up with duct tape. Those items were the first line of defense in his tool box. My father could fix anything and he proved it many times. He was very good at fixing whatever ailed my mom. Unfortunately, he could not save her in the end, but he never left her side. 

My father was a extraordinary storyteller as was my father's father. He and grandpa were at many family events with all of us gathered around a churning freezer of homemade ice cream to listen to those two tell us stories of their youth and life. My Dad was one of five children and it sounds like they had a raucous time together growing up. My father loved to talk about his youthful days growing up around Mebane and Hillsborough. His group of friends, like many young men even to this day, loved fast cars. They would meet up on a night here or there and take turns racing to the one-lane bridge near their home. Dad would shift while one of his friends would drive the car and push the clutch. It's amazing to think none of them were ever hurt. This started many a young man on his quest to become a Nascar driver. 

When my Father met my Mother, they would double-date with my aunt and her future husband, my uncle now. My parents eventually married but they were scared to tell their parents about it since both sets wanted them to wait until they were older and had saved 
more money. They were both helping to support the family home. My mom's father farmed tobacco out in Person County and my Dad's father worked on cars and at a trucking company as a mechanic. Both sets of families worked hard to make ends meet but
enjoyed time together. They would go home after seeing each other to their respective parent's homes for weeks after they were actually married. Eventually when they saved up enough money to start their own home, they told each set of parents. That is respect. 

I could always count on my Dad to be there when I needed him. He encouraged me to go to college and luckily I listened and went on to become the first one on my side of the family to graduate from college. He went with me to all the financial aid meetings and helped me find a way to afford it. He has a huge cheerleader for me. Don't get me wrong, I worked hard to put myself through college by working 30 - 40 hours a week at Food Lion, but my mom and dad were always there if they could help in any way. Unfortunately today, most kids can't work their way through college, it's just too darned expensive. 

My father was your best friend and whenever you needed anything you know you could ask him and he would help you. He never asked for anything in return and usually he never asked for help. He did get some help putting on the addition to our house when I was a teenager but he did so much of it by himself. When our daughter was born, my parents were right there the next day helping out. One Christmas, we gave our daughter, Ashley, a PowerWheels Barbie Corvette. My dad and husband put it together on Christmas Eve. It took a little while, and when they were finished there were some parts left over. You see, my dad never read the instructions, he just studied the parts and assembled them as best he could. That car lasted through our daughter's childhood and we finally gave it away when she turned seven and we were moving to Orlando. It is probably somewhere still running somewhere.

When creating the word kindness, God had to be thinking of my Dad. He was the epitome of kindness and love. He would do anything for the three of us kids, Mom, or anyone else who crossed his path. I was so lucky and blessed to have him as a Father and to have two loving, wonderful parents. God broke the mold when they made my Dad. We talked all most every day after we lost Mom, and he was my connection to that side of my family. I miss those wonderful days of family softball games and homemade ice cream, but mostly I just miss my Dad. But I am one of the luck ones - I had him for a Father. He taught me many things but most of all he taught me to love. They say you end of marrying someone like your father, Lucky for me, my daughter has a Dad that is just a wonderful! I hope she 
finds one like my Dad and her father to be the father of her children. Thanks, Dad...... 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Patty Pick for 6/16/16 is "Pretending to Dance" by Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain's novel, Pretending to Dance, follows adult Molly as she deals with the loss of her child and the fact that she and her husband, Aidan, will never be able to physically have any children of their own. But Molly's life is not what it seems, she has secrets from Aidan. Secrets that she has carried around in her head and heart her whole life. As Molly and Aidan go through the adoption process to find a child of their own, her heart and mind force her to think back and deal with her childhood in North Carolina. 

Molly was born as the illegitimate child of her father, Graham, and Amalia, a coworker at a mental hospital where he worked prior to marrying Nora. During her early years, Amalia brought Molly to Morrison Ridge and gave her to Molly's father and his wife, Nora to raise.
Amalia ends up staying in the private community and being a part of Molly's life. Molly's father is now suffering from a severe case of muscular disease that is advancing quickly. What happens during the summer in which Molly turned fourteen will effect her forever. She is determined to find the answers that she has been running from for years. She left North Carolina and has not spoken to her mother, Nora, since or even her birth mother, Amalia. 

Pretending to Dance explores the family relationship between mother and child and father and child. These experience shape the relationships Molly has in the future. All the events and experiences we live through effect our decisions through life. Molly has never dealt with her past and now she must if she is going to be able to go forward with adopting a child with Aidan. The future of their marriage is what finally pushes her to go back and face her past. Diane Chamberlain is a master in the family relationship story and crafts fine characters that are flawed, but human. Her novels are peppered with "alive" people and that is a gift every writer tries to find. Enjoy this on the beach or anywhere. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Patty Pick for 6/9/16 is My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Backman

As many of you may remember, another wonderful book by Fredrick Backman was 
selected as a Patty Pick! One of my all-time favorite books, "A Man Called Ove", was a Patty Pick on 1/21/16. This in one book you need to read for yourself. I promise that you will not be able to walk away after reading that book without some thought of someone in your life that you judged and categorized without really getting to know the real reason they were acting in the strange way you witnessed. Who doesn't know a grumpy, old man? Well, enough about that wonderful book, just read it, please!

Fredrik Backman's second novel, "my grandmother asked me to tell she's sorry", was just as delightful as his first. I was not sure about reading a novel with a seven-year-old narrator, but her voice is so pure and true you will swear there was a real seven-year-old who wrote this book! You also have to love her grandmother, who invents a magical land that is populated with strange people and beings to help ease the pain from the tortuous bullying that Elsa is suffering through at school.

The story of this different but amazing little girl with her unique view of the world, will bring joy to your heart and tears to your eyes. Sometimes at the same time and sometimes not. As we follow Elsa around after her grandmother dies to deliver letters for her, we meet the special people that she knew and the other owners of apartments in their building. You will read how it is really a small world and you never know what other people are experiencing in their lives or have endured before you knew them. 

As the stories of the people that Elsa's grandmother is trying to apologize to come out one-by-one, these same people will all be put to work. Their new job is to protect Elsa and her grandmother hopes will manage to heal themselves along the way. I could go on forever about this delightful book but I will let Backman's words speak for themselves. Elsa's best and only friend, her grandmother told her, "Only different people change the world, Granny used to say. "No one normal has ever changed a crapping thing." And this true statement, "if you hate the one who hates, you could risk becoming like the one you hate." So take it from this little "different" girl, and remember those that existed and don't turn into one of those people who hate. Don't wait, go read this book!